HUMBLE, Texas — Six feet away from his first PGA Tour victory, Lanto Griffin never felt calmer.
It was only after his par putt fell into the middle of the cup Sunday in the Houston Open that the 31-year-old golfer struggled to contain so many emotions.
He describes his parents as hippies and his childhood as flush with fun and love, short on cash. His father, who bought him a starter set of clubs even though no one in the family ever played golf, died when Griffin was 12. A local pro in Virginia, Steve Prater, gave him an honorary club membership when Griffin's father died and continues as a coach and mentor.
"This is going to be a week that I'll never, never forget — regardless what happens the rest of my career," Griffin said. "I feel very fortunate beyond words."
Locked in a tight race on the back nine, Griffin took the lead with a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, then won with that six-footer for par, which gave him a 3-under-par 69 and a one-shot victory over Mark Hubbard and Scott Harrington.
All three were on the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour last year. None had ever won on the PGA Tour.
Baylor School graduate Harris English continued his strong start to the season by closing with a 66 to share fourth with four others. Fellow former Red Raiders standout Luke List (66) shot 34 places up the leaderboard and shared 28th.
The victory sends Griffin to the Masters and the PGA Championship next season, gives him a two-year exemption on tour and forces him to come up with a fresh set of goals for the rest of the year. Except for statistics that take a season to complete, he ticked off most of them in Houston.
He won. He played in a final group. He wanted to play in two majors.
"I'll check whatever I have off there and reevaluate after this week," Griffin said.
Griffin finished at 14-under 274 and moved to the top of the FedEx Cup standings as the PGA Tour heads to Asia for three weeks of big purses and limited fields with no cuts.
Hubbard had the lead until he missed his only fairway of the final round on the par-5 15th, into the high grass of a hazard. He was able to chop out across the fairway into more thick grass, hit his third into a fairway bunker and missed an eight-foot par putt.
Harrington, who took 16 years to reach the PGA Tour and gave up a year to stay with his wife as she battled cancer, birdied the 15th with a two-putt from 10 feet, hit his tee shot to three feet from the cup for birdie on the 16th and was tied for the lead until a three-putt from 45 feet up the ridge on the 17th hole. Harrington missed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th and shot 67.
Hubbard had one last chance with a bold tee shot on the 18th, one of the toughest driving holes on the PGA Tour with water down the left side and a large bunker to the right. That set him up with a short iron to 25 feet away from the cup, but his putt to at least force a playoff stayed left.
Hubbard closed with a 69.
Griffin played away from the water on the 18th, knowing he could handle any shot from there because the pin was to the left. His approach was just on the green, 60 feet away, and it rolled six feet by. When he made the winner, he dropped his putter and raised both arms before covering his head.
"Just a childhood dream. That's what we all play for," he said.
PGA Tour Champions: Jerry Kelly wins regular-season finale
CARY, N.C. — Jerry Kelly knew he needed to make as many birdies as he could in a sprint to the finish in the SAS Championship. He was so locked into the process that he didn't realize how many he made until he marked them down on his card.
Locked in a tight race, Kelly ran off five straight birdies to close out the front nine, then made an insurance birdie late that carried him to a 7-under 65 and a one-shot victory in the PGA Tour Champions' final regular-season event.
Kelly made his lone bogey on the final hole when it only affected the margin. He finished at 16-under 200 and won by one shot over David McKenzie, who closed with a 63.
Woody Austin and Doug Barron, who shared the lead going into the final round, each shot 71 and tied for third with David Toms (66). Barron fell back with a tee shot that went out of bounds on No. 6 and led to triple bogey. Austin played his final 13 holes in par.
Kelly won for the third time this year on the 50-and-older and takes plenty of momentum into the postseason. The 52-year-old from Wisconsin went over $2 million in earnings for the year and remains No. 2 in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, though he cut into Scott McCarron's once big lead.
Kelly now is $221,430 behind McCarron, and points are double in the three Schwab Cup playoff events that start in two weeks. The top 72 on the money list qualify for the postseason.
Ooltewah's Gibby Gilbert III closed with a bogey-free 67 to share 12th at 8 under. His previous best finish this year, his first full season on the senior circuit, was a tie for 16th at the Boeing Classic in August. He is 61st in the Schwab Cup Standings.
European Tour: Bernd Wiesberger going up
ROME — Bernd Wiesberger moved atop the European Tour's season-long Race to Dubai rankings by winning the Italian Open for his second Rolex Series victory of the year.
The 34-year-old Austrian carded a bogey-free 6-under 65 at Olgiata Golf Club to finish at 16-under 268 and secure a one-stroke victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick after beginning the day three strokes behind the Englishman.
Fitzpatrick had chances to get into a playoff but missed both an eagle putt on the 17th hole that lipped around the cup and a birdie effort on No. 18.
It was Wiesberger's third win of the season overall, with his others the Made in Denmark tournament in May and the Scottish Open — which is also in the Rolex Series — in July. He tied for second at the Irish Open.
"I've played really well in the right events," Wiesberger said. "Just really excited what's ahead of us in the last few events."
Wiesberger has 4,198 points in the Race to Dubai, ahead of Jon Rahm (3,898), British Open champion Shane Lowry (3,535) and Fitzpatrick (2,865). He joins Rahm, Alex Noren, Justin Rose and Danny Willett as multiple winners in the Rolex Series.
It was the seventh career win on the European Tour for Wiesberger, who missed the last seven months of last season with a wrist injury.
Wiesberger also will move to a career-high 22nd in the World Golf Ranking, boosting his chances of making a Ryder Cup debut next year.
U.S. golfer Kurt Kitayama (71) finished third, four shots behind Wiesberger and one stroke ahead of England's Andrew Johnston (68), Scotland's Robert MacIntyre (71) and Austria's Matthias Schwab (66).
Francesco Laporta (68) was the top Italian, sharing seventh at 9 under with India's Sharma Shubhankar (68) and England's Matt Wallace (72).